Christina Rossetti & my Aunt Edna

It's simplistic to say that it is a book about Christina Rossetti. It is a scholarly work on literary criticism of Rossetti's poetry during her life and at different periods of critical thinking. It makes very interesting reading if you're interested in poetry and feminism, or poetry or feminism...
Christina Rossetti Critical Perspectives, 1862-1982 by Dr. Edna Kotin Charles
Dr. Edna Kotin Charles at 100

Yesterday my Aunt Edna had her 100th birthday. This morning I pulled her book about the poet Christina Rossetti off the shelf, and started reading it. I can’t remember how it came to be among my books, but I must have taken it from my parent’s home because it’s inscribed to them with a lovely note. Aunt Edna always has kind words in abundance for folks. The book was published, her doctoral thesis I believe, in 1985.

It’s simplistic to say that it is a book about Christina Rossetti. It is a scholarly work on literary criticism of Rossetti’s poetry during her life and at different periods of critical thinking. It makes very interesting reading if you’re interested in poetry and feminism, or poetry or feminism…

As a child my Aunt Edna was to me a smiling and kind woman who I had no idea was such a scholar, or lover of poetry. She married Saul, my grandfather’s cousin. The men in my family were the vocal and boisterous bunch, Uncle Saul and Grandpa maybe most of all, and their concerns were more mercantile in nature. But I am finally now giving Dr. Edna Kotin Charles my undivided attention, as well the work of Christina Rossetti.

Artstars as Ordinary People

The Artstars by Anne Elliot
Indiana University Press, Publication date: 10/01/2019, ISBN: 978-0-253-04436-5

The characters in the collection of stories by Anne Elliot, entitled The Artstars, have art degrees. For each one you might say that Art is their life but, with one exception, not their livlihood. Any practicing artist in any medium will recognize the existential struggles of the mostly ordinary people who are the Artstars.

The collection of stories, and the lives of the main characters are intertwined. Each story is narrated by a different voice. In the first story, Light Streaming from a Horse’s Ass, the narrator addresses the main character as you. I wasn’t sure if she was talking about herself, or a variation of me or you the Artist. By describing the actions of the main character to the main character, she managed to convey admiration. The narrator is asserting that the process of creating and living with oneself and others is of interest, and might even matter.

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Marvelina Chapter 20 Part 2

I have never believed that sex work is liberating. It’s an industry like most others. It exploits its workers and even its customers really. In Square City the Sex Quarter is used to control the male operators. The women who provide the services are drugged and compliant.

	The Operators paraded up the stairs, now swaying their hips and licking their lips as they crossed the faux cut stone bridge. Joe felt the spikes in his boots sinking into the reinforced cardboard as he followed them. Curved buildings with entryways shaped like vulvas beckoned to the men from the other side of the bridge. Perfumed steam rose into the air lit up in pink. Cheap thrills offered by mechanical devices were arranged in view of the bridge to titillate the Operators and persuade them to part with some change as soon as they crossed over. A red carpet promised more expensive pleasures for those desiring to search further within the twisted streets of the Sex Quarter.

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Marvelina Chapter 19 Part 1

Many women who have not had to deal with the very real threat of female genital mutilation probably prefer not to think about it as something that actually affects all of us. But it does. We have to reach out our hands to our sisters and help them achieve freedom of choice, or we are none of us truly free…

	She scrubbed herself hard, trying to wash away the memory of Doctor Schlock. But when she leaned back and closed her eyes, she saw his curly waxed mustache as he tapped his fingernail on her clitoris, telling her it was his now. She put her hand between her legs, relieved that she had not been mutilated, and understanding fully now what had been done to the girls working underground.

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Marvelina Chapter 18 Part 1

Conquerors, and even the people they bring unwillingly with them, tend to ignore the native people, and their native wisdom. This is as true on Earth as it is on Grandmother.

	“We should follow them,” said Katrina. She and Morina nodded to the men and turned to leave. But Merlin interrupted them. 
	“Want the Only People to you touch not. Want they to you talk not." He paused for a moment, reaching into his pocket. "Got I the Sacred Herb some of.  Time is it sharing for. We walking are the web on Grandmother Spider of, going and coming the same is.”

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Marvelina Chapter 17 Part 2

Female genital mutilation is no laughing matter. Many women in the world have had the procedure forced upon them. I don’t buy any arguments about traditions. It’s about control, pure and simple. I hope my fictional story might get more people to think about it…

Relishing the site of Marvelina’s youthful appearance, and the idea that the King would be watching, Dr. Schlock became impatient and decided to start without Florence. 
	“After she gives me what I want, I'll finish off with the razor blade. It's her pleasure button makes her so wild," he whispered with eager anticipation. "They all become compliant when it's gone. She'll be better off without it."

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Marvelina Chapter 16 Part 1

Teacher comes from the Lush Planet. He has told Edwin stories about it for as long as Edwin can remember. He has always told Edwin that he would go there one day, even though it is said that the planet is dead.

…”We watched the stars and told their stories, and our spirits soared into the night sky." 
	"What stories? How did you know star stories?" Edwin had once asked Teacher.
	"The spiders lived with us in the trees. They told us that all the stars and planets and people too, all our stories are woven together. The planets are connected to each other, and so are their people."
	“Tell me a woven together story," Edwin demanded. He had turned thirteen, and Teacher was getting weaker.

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Marvelina Chapter 13 Part 2

When we get older, no matter how radical we might have been or might still be, the next generation will always produce someone with unexpected talents. Someone who we might have underestimated.

"Grandmother Spider said that a message would come to me in the wind," Marvelina continued, "but what does it mean?" she asked. "I have no object of devotion," she added.  	Shavana stared at Marvelina. She was surprised that Marvelina was so thoroughly surprising to her. "No one can tell you what this means to you," she answered, passing the page back to Marvelina, who was clearly disappointed by her response.

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Marvelina Chapter 13 Part 1

Many times our own resentments prevent us from having empathy with another person’s situation. Anna, an escaped slave, had not given much thought to why Marvelina had found her privileged situation so intolerable…

	"The ST is chained to a tree. The SSFs were drinking and now they're sleeping," Anna added. "Except for the General. He might still be inflicting that girl…" she trailed off. She felt complicit. She turned to look at Marvelina, suddenly realizing that Marvelina might not be so different from that girl at the mercy of the General, or the young Anna she used to be. "There'll be a breakfast delivery in the morning," she said, finishing her summary.

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Marvelina Chapter 12 Part 2

Marvelina didn’t foresee the resentment she would encounter in her search to be free. She also didn’t think about the consequences of having both the King’s Square Troopers and her husband’s Special Forces all searching for her and turning people’s lives topsy-turvy in the process.

	Joe raised his machete, seeing only blurry shadows in the dark. 
	"It's the Princess of the Enemy," Amy said, while Anna, Moose and Bucky surrounded Joe and Marvelina. Moose and Bucky shone their flashlights in Joe and Marvelina's eyes, blinding them. "If it wasn't for you those SSFs wouldn't be destroying everything we created," said Amy with scorn.
	"It's not my fault," protested, Marvelina. "Please, I was coming back to try to help."
	"Can you get our food back from the depths of Lake Freedom?

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Marvelina Chapter 12 Part 1

Morina discovered her greatest strengths while surviving in WilderWood and functioning as Shavana’s fiercest warrior. If called upon to, she would sacrifice her life for Shavana without a second thought. She is also the best hunter among the group of women, and the most hot tempered.

	She fell into a determined march step and lost track of time, startled out of her single-minded state of concentration when she heard the sharp signal. She whistled in answer, and a couple minutes later she appeared at the campsite looking like a bloody mythological beast, half woman and half buck. Flies and wasps buzzed around her in a cloud. The heavy antlers tipped forward as if she was ready to charge. At first motionless with wonder, Frida and Skadi rushed to lift the carcass off Morina's back.

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Marvelina Chapter 11 Part 3

They have different reasons, but Joe and Marvelina both feel like they are outsiders. Joe is an escaped slave with a troubled conscience. Marvelina has escaped but is troubled by her own lack of understanding of how the world works.

	"Any man in his true and natural mind can see the truth if he opens his eyes to see, any woman too. But there’s not many in their true and natural minds. That’s the problem. I know better than most.”
	“Why you better than most?” asked Marvelina.
	“Cuz I’m an Insider Outsider, an Outsider Insider,” said Joe cryptically. 
 	“Well I’m a Princess of the Enemy. Everyone around here hates me!

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Marvelina Chapter 11 Part 2

There are many unique life forms on the planet Grandmother. It was one reason why the Squares came there. One thing they overlooked completely was the Sacred Herb. But the natives of the planet call it sacred for a reason…

	There was a duck couple gliding around in a lazy circle, and turtles sunbathing on a fallen limb in the pond. Blooming bushes were growing around the edges of the water. The flowers had thickly bunched long white petals with bright red stamens. They were the source of the musky scent in the air. "What is that smell?" she asked.

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